clearn.png
Monday November 29th, 2021 1:36AM

Texas power outages below 500,000 but water woes persists

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Power was restored to more homes and businesses in Texas on Thursday after a deadly blast of winter this week overwhelmed the electrical grid and left millions shivering in the cold. But the crisis was far from over, with many people still in need of safe drinking water.

Fewer than a half-million homes remained without electricity, although utility officials said limited rolling blackouts could still occur.

The storms also left more than 320,000 homes and businesses without power in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. About 70,000 power outages persisted after an ice storm in eastern Kentucky, while nearly 67,000 were without electricity in West Virginia.

Snow and ice moved into the Appalachians, northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, and later the Northeast. Back-to-back storms left 15 inches (38 centimeters) of snow in Little Rock, Arkansas, tying a 1918 record, the National Weather Service said.

The extreme weather was blamed for the deaths of over three dozen people, some while trying to keep warm. In the Houston area, one family died from carbon monoxide as their car idled in their garage. A woman and her three grandchildren were killed in a fire that authorities said might have been caused by a fireplace they were using.

In Texas on Thursday, just under 500,000 homes and businesses remained without power, down from about 3 million a day earlier. The state’s grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, said the remaining outages are largely weather-related, rather than forced blackouts that began Monday to stabilize the power grid.

“We will keep working around the clock until every single customer has their power back on,” said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin.

Woodfin warned that rotating outages could return if electricity demand rises as people get power and heating back, though they would not last as long as outages earlier this week.

Adding to the state's misery, the weather jeopardized drinking water systems. Authorities ordered 7 million people — a quarter of the population of the nation’s second-largest state — to boil tap water before drinking it, following record low temperatures that damaged infrastructure and pipes.

Water pressure has fallen because lines have frozen, and many people left faucets dripping to prevent pipes from icing over, said Toby Baker, executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Gov. Greg Abbott urged residents to shut off water to their homes, if possible, to prevent more busted pipes and preserve pressure in municipal systems.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he expects that residents in the nation’s fourth-largest city will have to boil tap water before drinking it until Sunday or Monday.

Some Austin hospitals faced a loss in water pressure and heat.

“Because this is a statewide emergency situation that is also impacting other hospitals within the Austin area, no one hospital currently has the capacity to accept transport of a large number of patients,” said David Huffstutler, CEO of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center.

At Houston Methodist, two of its community hospitals did not have running water but still treated patients, with most non-emergency surgeries and procedures canceled for Thursday and possibly Friday, said spokeswoman Gale Smith.

Emergency rooms were crowded "due to patients being unable to meet their medical needs at home without electricity,” Smith said. She said pipes had burst in Methodist’s hospitals but were being repaired as they happened.

Texas Children’s Hospital’s main campus at the Texas Medical Center and another location had low water pressure, but the system was adequately staffed and patients had enough water and “are safe and comfortable,” spokeswoman Jenn Jacome said.

FEMA sent generators to support water treatment plants, hospitals and nursing homes in Texas, along with thousands of blankets and ready-to-eat meals, officials said. The Texas Restaurant Association also said it was coordinating donations of food to hospitals.

Weather-related outages also struck Oregon, where some customers have been without power for almost a week. A Portland supermarket threw its perishable food into dumpsters, leading to a clash between scavengers and police.

The damage to the power system was the worst in 40 years, said Maria Pope, CEO of Portland General Electric. At the peak of the storm, more than 350,000 customers in the Portland area were in the dark. More than 100,000 customers remained without power Thursday in Oregon.

“These are the most dangerous conditions we’ve ever seen in the history of PGE,” said Dale Goodman, director of utility operations, who declined to predict when all customers would have power restored.

Utilities from Minnesota to Texas implemented rolling blackouts to ease the burden on strained power grids. Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities covering 14 states from the Dakotas to the Texas Panhandle, said rolling blackouts were no longer needed, but it asked customers to conserve energy until at least 10 p.m. Saturday.

The weather also disrupted water systems in several Southern cities, including New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana, where fire trucks delivered water to hospitals and bottled water was brought in for patients and staff, Shreveport television station KSLA reported.

Power was cut to a New Orleans facility that pumps drinking water from the Mississippi River. A spokeswoman for the Sewerage and Water Board said on-site generators were used until electricity was restored.

As the storms marched eastward, 12 people had to be rescued Wednesday night from boats after a dock weighed down by snow and ice collapsed on Tennessee's Cumberland River, the Nashville Fire Department said. Elsewhere in the state, a 9-year-old boy was killed when the tube his father was pulling behind an ATV slammed into a mailbox.

A 69-year-old Arkansas man was found dead Wednesday after falling into a frozen pond while trying to rescue a calf from the water in Magazine, about 90 miles northwest of Little Rock, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office said.

In Kentucky, a 77-year-old woman was found dead of likely hypothermia Wednesday night after going without power and heat for two days, Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond said.

A man fell through the ice on the Detroit River on Wednesday night and likely drowned, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said. The man was with others when he walked onto the ice just off Belle Isle, Michigan, about 5 p.m. and began “jumping up and down,” Lt. Jeremiah Schiessel said. Crews were unable to reach the spot where the man was last seen because the ice was too thin, Schiessel said.

___

Bleed reported from Little Rock, Arkansas. Associated Press journalists Gillian Flaccus in Portland, Oregon; Juan Lozano in Houston; Rebecca Reynolds in Louisville, Kentucky; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Kevin McGill in New Orleans; Darlene Superville in Washington; and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, contributed.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Utilities
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
NASA rover streaks toward a landing on Mars
A NASA rover is hurtling toward a landing on Mars in the riskiest step yet in an epic quest to bring back rocks that could answer whether life ever existed on the red planet
2:53PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Texas power outages below 500,000 but water woes persists
Power was restored to more homes and businesses in Texas after a deadly blast of winter this week overwhelmed the electrical grid and left millions shivering in the cold
2:52PM ( 3 minutes ago )
US reverts to targeted immigration enforcement under Biden
The Biden administration is giving new marching orders to the U.S. immigration enforcement agency
2:44PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
'Horrible': Witnesses recall massacre in Ethiopian holy city
Bodies with gunshot wounds lay in the streets for days in Ethiopia’s holiest city
2:13PM ( 43 minutes ago )
SC governor signs abortion ban; Planned Parenthood sues
South Carolina's governor has signed a bill banning most abortions into law
2:05PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Cruz confirms his Mexican vacation after storm slammed Texas
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has acknowledged that he had traveled to Mexico for a family vacation this week, leaving his home state as thousands of constituents struggled without power or safe drinking water after a powerful winter storm
1:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
In surprise move, Facebook blocks news access in Australia
Australia’s government has condemned Facebook for its surprise move to prevent Australians from sharing news that also blocked some government communications and commercial pages
12:30PM ( 2 hours ago )
Even without listening, US lives in Limbaugh’s media world
Rush Limbaugh was more than just a radio host
11:40AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP source: Sen. Cruz went to Mexico on vacation amid storm
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has traveled to Mexico for a family vacation as his home state grapples with a weather crisis
10:46AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Myanmar protests focus on junta's economic support
State railway workers in Myanmar are continuing to strike despite a police rampage the previous night targeting them in a sign of the military junta’s concern over growing civil disobedience by public workers protesting the coup
1:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Spain expects more flattening of virus curve
Spanish health officials expect the curve of the coronavirus contagion to continue flattening after the two-week incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants dropped to 320 cases from its peak of 900 at the end of January
1:31PM ( 1 hour ago )
NBA says All-Star will benefit Black colleges, COVID relief
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have completed details for the March 7 All-Star Game in Atlanta, saying it will generate more than $2.5 million for historically Black colleges and COVID-19 relief efforts
1:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Study suggests London infection rates down
A study from Imperial College London suggests coronavirus infection rates in London have gone down 80% in the past month as lockdown measures curb the spread of the virus
10:45AM ( 4 hours ago )
Stocks open lower on Wall Street, Treasury yields climb
Stocks are opening broadly lower on Wall Street and Treasury yields continued to climb
9:45AM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: French President combats cyberattacks
French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a plan to better arm public facilities and private companies against cybercrimals
7:59AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Police rampage targets striking railway workers in Myanmar
Demonstrators against Myanmar’s military takeover returned to the streets after a night of armed intimidation by security forces in the country’s second biggest city
3:03AM ( 11 hours ago )
California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027
New legislation would ban all fracking in California by 2027, taking aim at the powerful oil and gas industry in the state that's been a leader in combating climate change
7:47PM ( 19 hours ago )
More deadly storms coming so prepare better, experts say
The deadly winter storms that knocked out power for millions in Texas and other states have exceeded the worst-case scenarios of many U.S. utilities
7:35PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Business - Utilities
US reverts to targeted immigration enforcement under Biden
The Biden administration is giving new marching orders to the U.S. immigration enforcement agency
2:44PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Judge dismisses Georgia lawsuit by transgender fire chief
A federal judge has thrown out a discrimination lawsuit by a former Georgia fire chief who says she was fired because she's transgender
2:42PM ( 14 minutes ago )
AP source: Police suggest keeping Capitol fence for months
U.S. Capitol Police officials told congressional leaders the razor-wire topped fencing around the Capitol should remain in place for several more months as law enforcement continues to track threats against lawmakers
2:28PM ( 28 minutes ago )
The Latest: Virus variant from South Africa in Nevada
Nevada health officials say a coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa has been found in the state
2:25PM ( 31 minutes ago )
The Latest: 14 US states no longer under rolling blackouts
Southwest Power Pool says it’s no longer under an emergency alert for the utilities it covers in 14 states
2:23PM ( 32 minutes ago )